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Italy Vacation Rentals - Certified Homes, Villas, & Apartments
Luxury villa in western Tuscany
A soft welcome breeze can be felt nearly anywhere on earth and remains unseen. Not here. In the Valdera countryside, between Pisa and Volterra, the slightest stir of air is the visible breath of nature gently bending and swaying an endless sea of wheat. Under the warm Tuscan sun, a sensory spectacle is quietly at play as the landscape changes over time from vivid winter greens that transform into a palette of shimmering gold in time for the mid summer harvest.
Villa la Serena (the serene one), dominates the breadbasket of the ancient Etruscan civilization from a lushly private and elaborately manicured hilltop. Lavender, rosemary and sage perfume the air. Terracotta pottery, shimmering olive trees, level brick pathways and solid teak furnishings complement the villa's expertly restored stone exteriors.
A stay at la Serena soothes the body, pleases the eye and may quite possibly comfort the soul. Outdoor living centers around the deeply inviting pool cottage with a covered, open air dining room complete with a waist high fireplace, serving as a barbecue, and its own secondary kitchen. Exquisite crystal chandeliers and soft accent lights provide a warm welcoming space where evening gatherings become cherished memories. A second dining patio under a brick loggia is along the back of the villa looking out to the twinkling lights of the nearest village, three miles away.
From the moment we stepped inside Villa la Serena, two things became strikingly apparent. First, the level of restoration is unprecedented with no expense spared in showcasing its medieval origins and in lavishly furnishing this ultra-spacious home. From doorknobs to bedspreads, everything is of the highest quality. Second, the home's historic pedigree, proudly evidenced by exposed beams, vaulted stone archways, hand tiled floors and valuable antiques, meshes seamlessly with the creative flair of modern Italian art and the many comforts and needs of our age.
When it comes to livability, every bedroom offers a scenic view and comes with an en suite bathroom. Two larger bedrooms are considered suites with a sitting area. One bedroom is accessed by either walking through another bedroom or by using an entrance from the garden to maintain privacy.
Among the many comforts: screened windows, a washer and dryer, a security system, Wi-Fi and an iPad mini that doubles as a PC and a programmable sound system with speakers affixed to the living room and both outdoor dining areas. The open plan living and dining rooms are three capacious rooms joined by impressive vaulted arches. The most noticeably advanced room in the villa is the dream kitchen professionally outfitted with state of the art commercial appliances including induction burners, dual ovens and refrigerators and an ice maker.
Less immediately noticed yet significant is the owner's healthy respect for the environment. Villa la Serena's energy needs are greatly reduced by harnessing the power of the sun and thermal forces deep beneath the soil. Subfloor piping provides both heat and cooling from the villa's geothermal earth energy system, maintaining a steady 23 degree celsius, indoor temperature year round.
Aside from the English-speaking owner's home on an adjacent hilltop 300 yards away, this corner of the world is exclusively yours. The unobtrusive daily groundskeeping is finished by 10 am. Neighboring wheat and fodder fields are harvested in August, tilled in the fall and replanted in November, so some farming activity will be seen and heard at these times.
Befitting a home of this caliber, the rental price conveniently includes: all utilities, refresh cleanings on weekdays and a mid-week change of the towels. Tuscan dinners or cooking classes may be arranged when booking.
Easy drives across softly undulating hills lead to the villages of Chianni in 10 minutes or to charming Lajatico in 15. Both offer restaurants serving classic country cooking along with a few cafes and some basic shops. Lajatico happens to be the birthplace of Andrea Bocelli. An open air amphitheater remains silent year round except for one day in July when he returns home to perform.
The ancient villages in the Valdera valley, abundant in Etruscan and Roman finds, remain hidden gems undisturbed by mass tourism. Many villages celebrate their rich agrarian history by hosting food festivals during the year. Morning outdoor markets come to a nearby village nearly every day of the week. This valley is home to the Chianti Colline Pisane wine route and is crisscrossed by well marked walking trails.
For trips closer to home, a 15 minute drive leads to Casciana Terme with a healing thermal spa. Villages within 20 to 30 minutes offer a variety of attractions for all ages, such as 11th century castles, a museum of natural history, a park with a collection of life-size prehistoric dinosaurs, the Amedei chocolate factory and the Vespa Scooter Museum.
Day trips to well-known Tuscan sites can easily be worked into any itinerary. The Etruscan capital of Volterra is a 40 minute drive away as is Pontedera, with a train station offering frequent service to Pisa in 15 minutes or to Florence in less than an hour. By car, Pisa or the white truffle capital of San Miniato are 50 minutes away; San Gimignano, Lucca or the Tuscan coast: 60; Florence or Forte dei Marmi: 75; Siena or Castellina in Chianti: 90; the Cinque Terre: two hours.
Protect your valuable vacation with Travel Insurance from Allianz. The Rental Postponement Coverage is not available on this villa.
First floor: Landing with a screened door to a panoramic terrace. One bedroom suite with a queen size bed, sitting area, door to a loggia with stairs to the garden and en suite bathroom with shower. This bedroom is accessed by either passing through another bedroom or using the external staircase. Three bedrooms each with two single, joinable beds and en suite bathroom with shower. One bedroom with two single, joinable beds and en suite bathroom with tub and separate shower stall. Laundry room with washer/dryer. All the windows are screened. Each bedroom has a small safe and a portable hairdryer.
Pool cottage: Located a few feet from the villa, the cottage is open air along one side and the other side has glass doors. Furnished with a dining table, waist-high barbecue fireplace and sound system speakers. Kitchen with two burners, fridge, and dishwasher. Bathroom with pool shower.